Taking a Screenshot on Mac: 4 Simple Ways to Do It

Most of Apple's venerable Macs now come in new M1 and M2 variants, although screenshotting is still done in the same way.


For many people, especially those who frequently use their Mac for work or personal purposes, taking a screenshot is a vital feature. Taking a screenshot on a Mac is a simple and easy process, whether it’s for recording an essential message, saving a screenshot of a website or document, or simply conserving an image for later use. We’ll go through four easy ways to snap a screenshot on a Mac in this article.

  1. Using Keyboard Shortcuts: Using keyboard shortcuts is the earliest and simplest technique to take a screenshot on a Mac. The Command + Shift + 3 keys can be used to take a screenshot of the entire screen. Press the Command + Shift + 4 buttons, then use the mouse to pick the area you wish to capture from the screen. Your snapshot will be saved to your desktop as a PNG file as soon as you release the mouse button after selecting the area.
  2. Using the Screenshot App: Using the built-in Screenshot software, which is available on all Mac computers, is another way to take a screenshot on a Mac. Launchpad should be opened and Screenshot should be searched for to utilise the app. Select the type of screenshot you wish to take after opening the programme, such as a full-screen or selective screenshot. The screenshot will be saved as a PNG file to your desktop.
  3. Using the Preview App: The built-in Preview software on a Mac, which lets you examine and edit picture files, may also be used to take screenshots. Press the Command + Shift + 4 keys, choose the area you wish to capture, and then press the Spacebar to take a screenshot using the Preview app. The snapshot will be saved to your desktop as a PNG file, which you can then modify and save as another file format, like a JPG or PDF, using the Preview app.
  4. Using Third-Party Tools: Finally, you may snap a screenshot on a Mac by using free, user-friendly third-party programmes like Lightshot or Skitch. You can take screenshots using these tools, annotate them with text, shapes, and arrows, and save them in different file formats.

Also Read: How to Take Screenshots in Windows 10 or 11

In conclusion, there are four different ways to take a screenshot on a Mac. The procedure is easy to understand. You can record any image or piece of information you require and save it for later use whether you like to use keyboard shortcuts, built-in tools, or third-party ones.

If you own a recent Mac, such as a MacBook laptop, an iMac all-in-one computer, a Mac Mini desktop, or a Mac Studio desktop, there are three standard keyboard shortcuts you can use to snap screenshots. Owners of MacBook Pros have a fourth option: the Touch Bar. You also have a good variety of options in Apple’s MacOS programme to quickly save, remove, and open the snapshot for annotation.

These guidelines also apply to the most recent Macs, such as the M2 MacBook Air and the recently updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with a new M2 chip. These suggestions have been tried and true in MacOS Ventura, the most recent operating system upgrade.

Method 1: Cmd-Shift-3

This keyboard shortcut captures a screenshot of your entire screen.

Method 2: Cmd-Shift-4

With the use of this keyboard shortcut, you can transform your cursor into a crosshair that you can drag to choose a specific area of your screen to record. To take the picture, let go of the mouse or trackpad button.

After pressing Cmd-Shift-4, you have a variety of alternative options, including:

Press and release the spacebar: You can drag the tiny camera symbol that appears in place of the crosshair over any visible window. To take a screenshot of the window you want, click on it. This method produces screenshots with a white border around the window and a faint drop shadow.

Press and hold the spacebar Before releasing the mouse button or trackpad after dragging to highlight a region: This allows you to move the selection area on the screen while locking in its size and form. If your initial selection region is off by a few pixels, you may easily reposition it by holding down the spacebar before releasing the mouse button to take a screenshot.

Hold down the Shift key Before releasing the mouse button or trackpad after dragging to highlight a region: This secures all sides of the crosshair-made selection area except for the bottom edge, allowing you to set the bottom edge by dragging the mouse up or down.

Reposition the right border of your selection area by releasing the Shift key while continuing to hold down the mouse button. By holding down the Shift key while using the mouse button or touchpad, you can switch between moving the bottom and right edges.

Also Read: Different Methods to Take YouTube Videos’ Screenshots

Method 3: Cmd-Shift-5

Cmd-Shift-5, a keyboard shortcut command, brings up a little panel with your screen capture options at the bottom of your display. It was first featured in MacOS Mojave in 2018. You can take a screenshot of your full screen, a window, or a portion of it using one of the three buttons.

Likewise, you can record your entire screen or a portion of it using the two video recording buttons. The screenshot panel can be closed using the X button on the left, or you can just press the Escape key to leave.

There is an options button on the right side. You can specify a 5- or 10-second delay to allow you to line up elements that could otherwise disappear when you use your snapshot tool. It also lets you pick where to store your screenshot: Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, Mail, Messages, Preview, or Other Location.

The Show Floating Thumbnail option, which by default is enabled, displays a tiny preview thumbnail of the screenshot you just took in the lower-right corner of your screen, much to how iOS handles screenshots. On your Mac, you have the option to disable this preview thumbnail, unlike on your iPhone. Finally, you may decide whether to include a screenshot or video of your mouse pointer.

If the screenshot panel is in your way, you can grab its left edge and drag it to a new spot on your screen.

Bonus for Touch Bar MacBooks: Cmd-Shift-6

You can also capture a screenshot of what is currently displayed on the Touch Bar if you have an older MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar. To take a very long and slender screenshot of your Touch Bar, simply press Cmd-Shift-6.

long thin screenshot of a MacBook's Touch Bar screenshot on a mac
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Easy annotation

You’ll have quick access to Markup tools to annotate your screenshot if you use the Floating Thumbnail. It will be stored to the location where you most recently saved a screenshot whether you swipe away the floating thumbnail or just let it disappear on its own. When you click the floating thumbnail, a Markup View preview window (rather than Preview) will open with all of the markup capabilities available in Preview.

Right-clicking the Floating Thumbnail will allow you to:

  • Save the screenshot to your desktop, Documents folder or clipboard
  • Open it in Mail, Messages, Preview or Photos
  • Show in Finder
  • Delete
  • Open it in the Markup preview window described above
  • Close (and save)

The Cmd-Shift-5 shortcut may take some time to catch on with veteran Mac screenshotters, but I find that I use it more because it allows me to rapidly remove screenshots that I know I made a mistake on and annotate screenshots without opening Preview. The addition of the 5- and 10-second delay options is very beneficial and welcome.



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